OS Neutral The Free Game Model Here To Stay (?)

Huntn

macrumors demi-god
Original poster
May 5, 2008
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The Misty Mountains
After seeing this comment in the War Flight Sim thread, I thought this could be a good stand alone topic. I'd answer my own question with "a resounding yes!" ;)

Its free with a but. Its free as long as you don't get in a hurry.
This is the real genius of the "free game" model. If the game is compelling enough, you become willing to pay for certain advantages and certain equipment.

I'm encourage all free game models to be discussed, bu I'll mention World of Tanks, because it so expertly meets "free game" standard.


No, you don't have to pay for a premium subscription (purchased for a day, 3 days, a week, or a month, or a year), but your xp accrual will be slower, and you'll reach a level sooner where when you come out of the starting box and fall flat on your face, you'll have a net loss of income. That income is acquired for the purpose of buying gear and new tanks (after xp is earned). If you decide to buy the subscription it's very competitive and less expensive than other subscription models.

No you don't have to buy premium tanks (whose prices range from $4-50), there are more than enough tanks to fill the bill, but the advantage of the premium tanks is that they are consistent money makers, granted the inability to lose money when you experience a poor performance. Of note there are no Tier 10 (the current top tier) premium tanks for purchase, so they keep the wallet warriors out of the top tiers. Of note, it would cause havoc and substantially degrade the game if they did allow it.

No, you don't have to buy premium ammo (which can be bought with real money or earned in-game silver), but you'll end up with less penetrating rounds. However, I don't consider "gold" ammo as worth the cost. It's very expensive and its use gives an advantage (when you can penetrate) but by no means ensures victory.

And no, you don't have to buy garage slots (the game default is 8) if you are willing to give up old tanks to get new tanks... There are some tanks I won't give up so I'll end up spending about $1.50 for new slots and I have been a subscriber for the last 12 months.
 
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Dirtyharry50

macrumors 68000
May 17, 2012
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That sounds like a reasonable approach to the f2p model for this game.

I'd agree the system is here to stay. Ideally, I feel a game should ease you into spending money on it first by proving itself as worthy of the expenditure in early free content and then allowing you to gradually purchase content of lasting value in the context of that particular game.

I don't know how it works today as it has been a while but I liked in the past how with LoTRO I could buy a level range of content and all my characters could play through it (I am an altaholic) and then when I'd exhausted that or wanted to progress a particular character such as my main sooner, I could buy just the next level range for them but that purchase would permanently grant me access to that range of content for all my other characters - so I could pay as I went.

I think at some point, particularly towards end game they started selling too much stuff for character advancement (same for DDO) and nickel and diming players which I hate. I'm not much of an end game person anymore though so Turbine's way of doing things would probably work for me and I may return to both LoTRO and DDO at some point.

I do hate how some games cripple even the early game experience in an effort to get you to subscribe or spend very early on. Games like that tend to be such a turn off to me I won't even play them at all.

By the way, being too lazy to look right now and knowing you'd know - does World of Tanks have a Mac client too? I'm tempted to try that game sometime.
 

Solomani

macrumors 68040
Sep 25, 2012
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Alberto, Canado
This is the real genius of the "free game" model. If the game is compelling enough, you become willing to pay for certain advantages and certain equipment.
Sounds like you're describing a "generous version of the IAP model".

As opposed to the "rip-off version of the IAP model"…. which entices you to download a "FREE" game, then you learn soon that it's impossible or extremely frustrating to progress along the game without having to buy IAP add-ons.
 

Huntn

macrumors demi-god
Original poster
May 5, 2008
18,415
19,065
The Misty Mountains
That sounds like a reasonable approach to the f2p model for this game.

I'd agree the system is here to stay. Ideally, I feel a game should ease you into spending money on it first by proving itself as worthy of the expenditure in early free content and then allowing you to gradually purchase content of lasting value in the context of that particular game.

I don't know how it works today as it has been a while but I liked in the past how with LoTRO I could buy a level range of content and all my characters could play through it (I am an altaholic) and then when I'd exhausted that or wanted to progress a particular character such as my main sooner, I could buy just the next level range for them but that purchase would permanently grant me access to that range of content for all my other characters - so I could pay as I went.

I think at some point, particularly towards end game they started selling too much stuff for character advancement (same for DDO) and nickel and diming players which I hate. I'm not much of an end game person anymore though so Turbine's way of doing things would probably work for me and I may return to both LoTRO and DDO at some point.

I do hate how some games cripple even the early game experience in an effort to get you to subscribe or spend very early on. Games like that tend to be such a turn off to me I won't even play them at all.

By the way, being too lazy to look right now and knowing you'd know - does World of Tanks have a Mac client too? I'm tempted to try that game sometime.
There is no Mac version.

Sounds like you're describing a "generous version of the IAP model".

As opposed to the "rip-off version of the IAP model"…. which entices you to download a "FREE" game, then you learn soon that it's impossible or extremely frustrating to progress along the game without having to buy IAP add-ons.
I have seen games too, mostly on iPad where about 8 levels in it seems to get so difficult you will no longer succeed without spending money. I detest this. Castle Rush is one such game. My wife plays Candy Crush and refuses to spend money. She is still progressing while her friend buys the goodies and then brags about her progress, hah! However even though CC is advertised as free, at the upper levels you have to pay money to open up a new range of levels, I believe 25 levels at a time.

I llook at it this way, if I have to buy "help", have I really beaten the game? For WOTs I like the extra xp for new tank accrual and am willing to pay. This makes progression faster but has no bearing on your performance in a battle. As I said, gold rounds do help but not always, and IMO are not worth their expense.
 

garnerx

macrumors 6502
Nov 9, 2012
472
211
World of Tanks does the 'free' thing pretty well, although I've probably spent as much on it now as I did on things like a year of Call of Duty plus all the DLC. I like the game though, so I don't regret spending the money too much.

Some other games really try to milk the players. Out of curiosity I played Clash of Clans on iOS, and it's completely shameless in the way it tries to force you to pay. I never parted with any money for it because it's an extremely boring game, but I got to a point where it would take four days to upgrade one thing in my base.

Click a building, then wait four days until you can click another. That's the entire gameplay, unless you pay to speed it up, which is quite expensive.
 

Huntn

macrumors demi-god
Original poster
May 5, 2008
18,415
19,065
The Misty Mountains
World of Tanks does the 'free' thing pretty well, although I've probably spent as much on it now as I did on things like a year of Call of Duty plus all the DLC. I like the game though, so I don't regret spending the money too much.

Some other games really try to milk the players. Out of curiosity I played Clash of Clans on iOS, and it's completely shameless in the way it tries to force you to pay. I never parted with any money for it because it's an extremely boring game, but I got to a point where it would take four days to upgrade one thing in my base.

Click a building, then wait four days until you can click another. That's the entire gameplay, unless you pay to speed it up, which is quite expensive.
I have a Grandson playing this. Can't you get raided and isn't there combat of somekind?
 

garnerx

macrumors 6502
Nov 9, 2012
472
211
I have a Grandson playing this. Can't you get raided and isn't there combat of somekind?
Sort of... You leave your village alone for a while, because there's nothing you can do while you wait for a building to complete, then you come back and read some messages about how it got raided while you were away. Sometimes you won, sometimes you lost. You can watch a replay but it's entirely non-interactive.

If you want to raid other people or AI villages, you build some troops (which takes time, of course) and drop them onto the map. They pour onto the map wherever you touch the screen, and you watch them do their own thing completely out of your control. Victory is down to how many troops you can afford to expend (you don't get any of them back after the raid, even if you won).

Bizarre 'game'. You can visit other villages to have a look, and most of them seem to have items that you can only get by paying. It isn't cheap, either. There's a chat tab with people recruiting for clans. Somebody asked 'how old is everyone' and the answers were all 9, 10, 11, so I guess this isn't meant for me! Don't know how the kids can afford all the in-app purchases.
 

Huntn

macrumors demi-god
Original poster
May 5, 2008
18,415
19,065
The Misty Mountains
Sort of... You leave your village alone for a while, because there's nothing you can do while you wait for a building to complete, then you come back and read some messages about how it got raided while you were away. Sometimes you won, sometimes you lost. You can watch a replay but it's entirely non-interactive.

If you want to raid other people or AI villages, you build some troops (which takes time, of course) and drop them onto the map. They pour onto the map wherever you touch the screen, and you watch them do their own thing completely out of your control. Victory is down to how many troops you can afford to expend (you don't get any of them back after the raid, even if you won).

Bizarre 'game'. You can visit other villages to have a look, and most of them seem to have items that you can only get by paying. It isn't cheap, either. There's a chat tab with people recruiting for clans. Somebody asked 'how old is everyone' and the answers were all 9, 10, 11, so I guess this isn't meant for me! Don't know how the kids can afford all the in-app purchases.
My impression is that my Grandson (he's 13) does not pay, although my wife bought him something once for it, but his village survives. Seems like a royal waste of time to me. :p
 

garnerx

macrumors 6502
Nov 9, 2012
472
211
My impression is that my Grandson (he's 13) does not pay, although my wife bought him something once for it, but his village survives. Seems like a royal waste of time to me. :p
The village always survives - after a raid it looks ruined to other players (they can't attack again for while) but to the owner it's always in pristine condition. You wouldn't know you'd been raided if you didn't read the message tab. So futile.

Played another variation on the 'free' model the other day - Joe Danger Infinite. It's a stunt-racing game that's quite good, but every time you crash you have to click through an ad trying to get you to pay to, essentially, skip the level.

Very annoying, because the game wasn't actually free in the first place. I paid for it but I'm still being nagged to buy pointless extras.
 

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